Yale ‘champion’ of higher ed access honored for forging paths to college

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, was named a 2023 Coalition Champion by the Coalition for College.
Jeremiah Quinlan

Jeremiah Quinlan (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, was named a 2023 Coalition Champion by the Coalition for College, a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to higher education.

The award, which was presented during a ceremony in New York on Nov. 7, recognizes individuals who have made important contributions to the Coalition for College’s work of helping students forge a pathway to and through college, particularly students from communities that are historically underrepresented in higher education.

Honorees this year were the six admissions and enrollment leaders who founded the Coalition for College, which has supported more than 1 million students since 2016. Yale was a founding member of the organization, which now comprises more than 170 colleges and universities.

Our founders showed incredible vision and dedication when they joined together to launch the Coalition,” says Kate Volzer, interim CEO of the organization. “Their leadership and hard work inspired a national movement among public and private colleges working together to reduce barriers to higher education.”

At Yale, the university has made a series of commitments to assure that a Yale education is accessible and affordable to all qualified students since the start of Quinlan’s tenure as dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid in 2013 (a 10-year period that has coincided with the tenure of Yale President Peter Salovey).

Enhancements to Yale’s need-based financial aid program have reduced costs for students and families and attracted more students from lower-income and middle-income families. More than 86% of Yale students graduate with no loan debt.

This fall, more than 360 first-year students (22%) in the Yale College Class of 2027 were eligible for Pell Grants, a federal need-based program for low-income students, compared with fewer than 12% in the fall of 2013. And 21% will be part of the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college, compared with fewer than 12% who were first-generation college students in 2013. A large majority (59%) are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who self-identify as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group, with record high representation of African American, Asian American, and Hispanic/Latino students. A decade ago, just 36% identified as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group.

These combined increases in representation combined with a roughly 20% increase in overall undergraduate enrollment compared with a decade ago (due in part to the opening of Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin Colleges in 2017) mean that the number of Pell-eligible first-year students this fall was 130% higher than it was a decade ago; the number of first-generation first-year students is nearly 115% higher; and the number of students of color in the first-year class has increased by 96%.

In 2021, the American Talent Initiative (ATI), a national alliance of leading colleges and universities, recognized Yale as one of its most successful members for rapidly increasing the enrollment of undergraduate students eligible for Pell Grants. At the time, an ATI report cited Yale as an “example of success” and an institution that has “led the way toward enrolling and graduating lower-income students, laying the groundwork for collective progress.”

Dean Quinlan has been a champion and an extraordinary partner in bringing Yale College where it is today,” said Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis. “He has attracted the best students from around the world and dramatically increased access and generous financial aid to all of them. It’s no wonder that more of them than at any other time in the college’s history have chosen to come to Yale.”

Other leaders recognized as 2023 Coalition Champions were:

  • Douglas L. Christiansen, vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid, Vanderbilt University
  • Zina Evans, senior vice president for higher ed strategy, enrollment management, and student success, Partnership for Education Advancement
  • Barbara Gill, associate vice president for enrollment management, The University of Maryland
  • Courtney McAnuff, vice chancellor for enrollment management, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
  • James Nondorf, vice president for enrollment and student advancement and dean of college admissions and financial aid, The University of Chicago

It was a true honor to be recognized alongside so many national enrollment and admissions leaders,” Quinlan said. “Over the past eight years, the Coalition for College has made such a huge impact on improving the college admissions landscape. I am proud of Yale’s work at the center of this incredibly broad and powerful partnership of excellent schools.”

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